Todd Suhn has been a reliable visitor to Las Vegas over much of the past two decades.
The cowboy from Hermosa, S.D., has certainly done his part to bolster the city's tourism numbers each December. And he's doing his part again this year, having qualified for the National Finals Rodeo for the 16th time in his sterling steer wrestling career.
The one thing he hasn't quite been able to do is leave Las Vegas as the world champion.
He's surely the sentimental favorite in the field of 15 bulldoggers, after entering the NFR ranked ninth, with $66,136 in earnings in 2012. That is about $32,000 behind leader Ethen Thouvenell, which sounds like a fair amount to make up.
But at the NFR, which has a total purse of $6.125 million, ground can be made up in a big hurry on a nightly basis. So Suhn is always ready to ride and hope for the best.
"You can't always control what happens. You never know what'll happen," Suhn said.
"You just want to go out there and finish the year strong. Just go out and bulldog as well as I can. That's always my goal."
And he has achieved that goal well enough to carve out a solid career, even without a gold buckle.
He took second in the world in 1999. He entered the 2010 NFR in second place, and left in sixth, and he took fourth in the world standings in 2004.
So he has come very close. But he also has learned that there's more to life than a world championship.
"I used to think it would define me and be everything I wanted to do in life," he said.
"But I'm pretty blessed in my life, with my family and getting to do what I love to do. I'm just not quite as worried about (a championship) now.
"It's not that I'm not trying hard. I've just got different priorities."
The 39-year-old has a wife and two children - a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl - and it's important to him to be as respected a family man as he is a rodeo cowboy.
"I just want to be a good man, I guess. Be respected and treat people well," he said. "There's other things more important than wearing a gold trinket around. It would be awesome, but it's not the end of the world if it doesn't happen. As you grow older, you realize some things are more important."
That's not to say Suhn won't enjoy his 16th trip to the "Super Bowl of Rodeo." It has been a bit of a struggle this year, as he suffered a broken ankle in July that will require surgery soon, and his best horse has been dealing with a ligament injury in his right front leg.
But even if he has to go to a backup horse, the fact that he has made it to the NFR again is still exciting.
"The thrill of competing in Vegas, it's a rush," said Suhn, noting the energy of the sold-out-every-night Thomas & Mack Center. "That place is electric. The electricity in that building for two straight hours every night, where every run could be a championship run, you've gotta love that atmosphere.
"I am blessed to be part of that, and I just want to do my best."